By ED SOUTHORN
TWEED Mayor Warren Polglase has confirmed he wants the Gold Coast Tourism Bureau to take over marketing the Tweed as a tourist destination.
Cr Polglase yesterday said it was time to take Tweed tourism promotion to a new level and he believes the Gold Coast bureau has the capacity to best do the job.
"We aren't big enough to market ourselves," Cr Polglase said.
He said Tweed Shire Council's next budget would probably have to allocate a lot more money to help attract tourists to the Tweed.
"All our major tourism players, like Tropical Fruit World, get a large proportion of their market from the Gold Coast, and the two major resorts about to come on stream, Outrigger and Peppers, will advertise regionally," Cr Polglase said.
"To take the Tweed to the next level of marketing will need a lot of resources."
Cr Polglase signalled that council could purchase land at Chinderah to assist development of a planned "super service centre" on the Pacific Highway, including a major tourism information centre.
And he said council could take over running of tourist information centres - currently at Murwillumbah and Tweed Mall.
Tweed tourism operators involved with the Tweed and Coolangatta Tourism agency - TACTIC - could become part of an advisory group assisting council on tourism, Cr Polglase said.
He said the TACTIC name was not identifiable with the Tweed.
TACTIC president Lee Eyre said TACTIC had been criticised for not doing enough to promote the Tweed, but council had continually rejected requests for more funds to allow TACTIC to increase promotional activity.
"If there is going to be more money, why not give TACTIC a chance to promote our region," Ms Eyre said.
She said she could understand Cr Polglase's reasoning if TACTIC had been given more money and then failed to improve promotion.
"We can't market the Tweed as it deserves with the money we've got, but we've always been told we can't have any more money," she said.
"I can see the benefits of a close relationship with the Gold Coast Tourism Bureau, but as far as handing over promotion for the Tweed I'm not convinced."
Kingscliff Chamber of Commerce president Rose Wright called for a tourism summit to allow Tweed tourism industry members to devise a strategy for marketing and infrastructure development.
Cr Polglase was speaking out after the TACTIC board last week announced it would ask members at the group's annual general meeting in December not to renew TACTIC's $267,000 contract with Council, due to expire next June.
Cr Polglase said council had made no decisions yet on tourism but he expected a new tourism support structure for the Tweed would be finalised by next April.
Tweed MP Neville Newell said it was "disgraceful the mayor has proposed to hand over council's tourism budget to the Gold Coast City Council".
"If Tweed Shire Council put the same pro rata amount of funding into tourism as the Gold Coast City Council, TACTIC's budget would be a million dollars, not a paltry $300,000," he said.